Extraterrestrials buy home in Earth orbit
Cash-strapped space agency NASA has sold the International Space Station (ISS) - to a bunch of aliens!
As part of the deal, NASA gets to continue using the orbiting platform for 13 weeks a year until 2030, under a timeshare agreement.
"Although President Obama's recent budget changes have extended the life of the ISS to 2020, we were still looking at some big bills," said Dr Buzz Ablative, a one-time consultant to NASA. "The Space Station is getting old now, and the whole damn thing needs a new coat of paint. And with this money, we can think about adding some additional modules. A conservatory would be nice."
Neither NASA nor the Government would release details of the deal, or who's bought the ISS except to say that they come from a galaxy far, far away.
"Actually, we're not sure where they're from," said a NASA insider who asked not to be named. "Nor are we entirely sure what they want the ISS for. There was some talk about vacations, but they've already submitted plans for adding something called a BSE. I believe that stands for 'Bovine Storage Extension'."
According to the same source, the agreement between the extraterrestrial entities and NASA comes with a number of conditions. "They want us to widen all the hatches and install softer lighting," he said. "But apparently they don't need sleeping facilities."
There is some concern among US astronauts about the aliens' plan to enlarge the medical module on the ISS to three times its current size. "It seems that they need plenty of room for medical procedures of some kind," said Ablative.
He added: "On another note, they've submitted a request for a full list of the 'probes' that the ISS currently carries. I'm not sure what they mean by that."
There are rumours that NASA may have got an even better deal than they first thought. "The aliens have paid for 39 weeks a year until 2030," says the insider, "but they've hinted that they may not need it after 2012."
Ablative said that, following the success of this deal, NASA may be looking at selling other assets. "We may still build the Ares rockets, but sell them straight to the aliens," he said. "We'll obviously get more for them if they're unused. And then there's Houston. They can have the whole of Houston."
This knock-down sale of America's space capabilities is coming in for some criticism, but Ablative is bullish.
"It may seem unpatriotic to sell this stuff to aliens," said Ablative, "but if we don't do it, the Russkies sure will. That's what free markets are about."
Spying on the Interwebs
The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are to sue Facebook, according to rumors currently circulating in Washington and Virginia. But they may be in for a shock. Sources close to the White House say that President George W Bush is considering closing the super-spook agency and making cut-backs in the CIA budget.
"Why do we need expensive organizations like the NSA and CIA to spy on US citizens when we can just use Facebook and MySpace?" said one White House insider.
Leaks from the NSA suggest that it feels Facebook is trespassing on its turf. "We invented this shit," said one whistleblower. "The whole thing about spying on people and building up profiles? We started that. Hell, even the word 'profile' is ours. So we're going to nail their asses for infringement of our intellectual property. And besides, these days we could do with the money."
But in a shock response, some in the intelligence community are suggesting that the NSA and CIA are no longer pulling their weight. One congressman, with links to defense committees, said: "In this modern, connected world, do we really need these old-fashioned organizations? The interweb pipes already contain more data than these agencies can collect. These days, if I want information on, well, anything, I don't bother with government sources. I just ask my nine year-old daughter to use the Google."
Defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, already exploit publicly accessible web sources as part of their homeland defense, trusted traveler and border security systems. These use data mining techniques, scouring personal websites, blogs, social networking sites and internet forums. The systems build profiles on people who are suspected, or might be suspected, or might have met someone who is suspected of being a terrorist, a drug baron, an activist or who is in some other way 'special'.
"The amount of data we can build about people is incredible," said one unattributable source. "Take photos. Some people are worried that the federal government is building a database of driver's license and passport photos. But why would we bother? All we need to do is scrape Facebook, MySpace and Flickr. That way, we gets lots of pictures of you, with different expressions, different lighting conditions, different angles. And you kindly label the pictures for us — not just yourself but all your known associates. And you tell us where and when the pictures were taken. That's really cool. These days, we don't bother following people, we just check out their Flickr albums."
The same source said that users' 'friends' lists are also invaluable. "Do you have any idea how much work it takes to build a list of known associates? It can take weeks, years. With Facebook and MySpace, it's all right there. And the really bad guys don't even have to have Facebook accounts. We just need to find one of their friends, associates or contacts who does and bingo! We have the whole network right there. I mean, if you've come into contact with a terrorist, or someone who's met a terrorist, or anyone else we deem untrustworthy, then that's reasonable cause for suspicion, right? I mean, you'd want us watching someone like you, right?"
The NSA was unavailable for comment.
The US Government is exploiting the Internet to enslave the minds of millions of people.
A covert operation is using secret codes buried in Internet messages to trigger bizarre brain reflexes among a large section of the population. In many cases, victims are reduced to babbling idiots with a compulsive desire to impose their delusions on the rest of the world. But some are transformed into unwilling mind-control slaves who then use the Internet to spread government propaganda and disinformation.
"These messages are distributed using Usenet newsgroups," said a leading cryptology analyst, Mr Y, who refused to be named in case his wife finds out where he is. "The people who use Usenet are known to be particularly vulnerable to these kinds of brain distortions. I mean, they're already half-way wacko."
According to Y: "Thousands of Internet users find themselves uncontrollably spewing all kinds of ludicrous theories on to the Net — stuff about UFOs, conspiracies, Lady Diana, Elvis, how the government is responsible for 9/11 and the shooting of JFK and about fraud at Enron. Weird shit that no sane person would ever believe."
He claims that the Government is doing this to discredit serious investigators in areas that might embarrass it. "By harnessing the power of hundreds of Net users they create a tidal wave of gibberish. Anyone genuine who starts looking into what's really happening at Area 51 or in the boardroooms of US corporations gets tarred with the same 'loony' brush."
But is it possible that some of the raving nutjobs might just be mad anyway?
"It's possible," says Y, "but the scores of affected people we've logged and monitored show genuine signs of deterioration once they've been on Usenet for a while. And the only explanation for that is a massive Government conspiracy using advanced technology to turn us into mind-control slaves. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to log on."